The first A320neo MSN6101 fitted with Pratt & Whitney PW1100G geared turbofans has made its daylight debut in Toulouse.

Earlier in June the aircraft – registered F-WNEO – achieved test instrumentation power-on, with Airbus also conducting load calibration tests.

Airbus will undertake a virtual flight test campaign over the summer before the A320neo’s planned maiden sortie in September. The sharklet winglet campaign and introduction of a reinforced wing on the A320ceo has assisted in fast-tracking A320neo certification by some 250 hours of flight testing.

Once underway, four A320neo test aircraft will be involved in the campaign – two for each engine option. Both pairs will have one aircraft fitted with heavy instrumentation dedicated to conducting aeroelasticity (handling) tests and evaluating hot-and-high performance. The second aircraft in the pair will be customer facing used for autopilot, ETOPS and noise testing.

The campaign will also focus heavily on achieving the same takeoff and landing performance for every family member despite the re-engined aircraft being approximately 1.6t heavier.

All engine-specific testing required for certification will be carried out by the A320neos, the four derivative test aircraft – two each of the A319neo and A321neo – will undertake engine type certification only. Many of the A320neo’s test results are transferrable to the A319neo as the aircraft feature an identical wing, however the A321 will need to undertake separate water-ingestion and noise testing.

At the end of May, Airbus held 2,689 orders for all three variants of the neo family.

Feature image and video by Airbus SAS.